Whenever some disturbing news is reported to you, you ought to have ready at hand the following principle: News, on any subject, never falls within the sphere of the moral purpose. Can anyone bring you word that you have been wrong in an assumption or in a desire?—By no means.—But he can bring you word that someone is dead. Very well, what is that to you? That someone is speaking ill of you. Very well, what is that to you? That your father is making certain preparations. Against whom? Surely not against your moral purpose, is it? Why, how can he? But against your paltry body, against your paltry possessions; you are safe, it is not against you. Epictetus, Discourses 3.18.1-3
When you are surrounded by bad news, it is tempting to go in 2 ways. Avoid all mentions of it and obsessively read about every small detail and so several people are doing the latter lately, that there is even a word for it now, doom scrolling. Not convinced? Check Twitter. The website is filled with comments about users and their tendencies to doom scroll, and pleas to stop the habit. Also, Merriam-Webster has designated the term with doom surfing as one of the terms that they’re watching. It is understandable, obviously bad news is not essentially in short supply these days, and with Americans staying home more because of COVID-19, screen time has noticeably jumped. But there is good news about your bad news habit. There’re good things you can do to lessen your doom scrolling and reclaim some of your precious time. Here is what you need to know, and how to break the habit.
What is doom scrolling?
Doom scrolling and doom surfing, are new words used for describing the tendency to continue to surf and scroll through bad news, even that news is depressing and disheartening. While doom scrolling existed in practice, if not in name before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it has been pointed out that it is actually taken hold lately. It isn’t just about the virus. People can doom scroll through the news about racial injustice, and the unemployment rate. Basically, if the news is bad and depressing, you can doom scroll it. Doom scrolling can pose toxic impacts to the scroller’s overall well-being. The body, mind, and spirit thrive when we engage in positive, uplifting activities and thoughts. When we are engaged in doom scrolling, then we promote negative feelings, ideas, and bodily sensations. In the short term, doom scrolling can cause an upwelling of feelings like irritability, anxiety, and sadness. In the long term, doom scrolling can definitely foster chronic anxiety, stress, depression, and pessimism. But it makes sense why so several of us are turning to it as a coping mechanism, amid a worldwide health crisis, a national economic collapse, and a social reckoning of the systemic racism that has been swirled in this country for a long time, it is natural if one will feel a total loss of control. Doom scrolling, in several ways, feels like control because we can decide how informed we are. But when the info is triggering and there is not much by way of answers to offer, the impact is not essentially a positive one. While we initially turn to this online content for comfort and answers, the reality is that the further we consume, the more drained, helpless, and potentially anxious and lonely we will feel. Those feelings can frequently trigger us to seek out even more info, on an endless quest for a sense of control that we are not probably to achieve. But, it is in every person’s power for stopping the doom scrolling cycle.
Do not get us wrong, staying up to date with coronavirus news and recommendations is essential, as it’s staying connected with your friends. For both reasons, doom scrolling became famous during the pandemic, whether people were looking for more info or they were trying to stay in touch with their friends when they cannot connect face to face with their friends and loved ones. When we talk about doom scrolling, there’s a feeling of missing out. When there’s any breaking news, we can feel like we’re missing out and doom scrolling becomes “a solution. In times like these when we are talking about racism more than ever, we might even feel guilty if we aren’t doom scrolling. This can mean that we aren’t interested to be informed and that we’re turning the other cheek. However, it is essential to keep in mind if we are spending too much time following news and not taking care of ourselves, we are less probably to take real action.
Why do we doom scroll?
Our brain loves this stuff. We’re all hardwired for seeing the negative and be drawn to the negative because it can harm us physically. As per one expert, it’s evolution as the reason for why humans seek out the negatives. If your ancestors learned all about how can injure them, they can avoid that fate. We can sense danger. It helps us survive. But in modern times, most people do not realize they are even doing this. People have a question, they need an answer, and assume getting it will make them feel good. You keep scrolling & scrolling. Several think that will be helpful, but they end up feeling worse afterward. To that point, doom scrolling can actually challenge the way you see the world. People are drawn to doom scrolling because they feel like they have got a sense of being able to control any of that bad news. But doom scrolling doesn’t take control and only makes you miserable. The overall effect doom scrolling has on people can vary, but usually, it can make you feel more anxious, depressed, and isolated. When we are stressed, we tend to turn to social media for info or distraction. Doom scrolling is a coping mechanism in the uncertain times like it’s now in the time of pandemic in the world.
There are some ways why people do doom scrolling
Anxiety. People who do this can have anxiety, there can be a feeling of negativity with the individual. Negative news fuels these feelings.
Time. With lockdowns and quarantines, people have more time to waste. Several will waste it by watching news items.
A false sense of control. There is a lot that has happened due to the virus. Now, social disruption is beyond our control. We can feel vulnerable and helpless. Feeding ourselves bad news can give us a false sense of security with the false hope we are knowledgeable about what’s going on.
Effects of doom scrolling on Mental Health
We turn to news to make sense of what is going on in the world. When info isn’t available or given in its entirety, people can feel helpless, frustrated, and angry. We’ve for drawing the line between staying informed and doom scrolling. In a few cases, doom scrolling can create the same symptoms as a post-traumatic disorder, particularly if we’re dealing with stressful content as we’re during the pandemic.
Why should you stop it?
Despite sleep problems and mental health issues and anxiety because of uncertainty in this time, several of us have become addicted to scrolling through our phones. It leads us to have the worst feeling about life. When we are caught in the doom scrolling net, we lean towards disconnecting from reality and loved ones. This thing makes us forget the positive stuff in life. It will become a bad habit before you know it,. One that you would not only have a difficult time stopping but one with terrible consequences. The lack of routine during the pandemic has had an effect on our ability to focus on best memories and experiences. Lockdown has had a big impact on wellbeing, with several feeling trapped in an environment. Add this to a sense of helplessness because of seeing constant doom facts and figures, deaths, and losses. Lockdown has given various people too much free time, free time that almost goes to dooms Colling.
What Can You Do About Doom scrolling?
Rather than scrolling through apps, opt for reading magazines, newspapers, and newsletters. Once you find other sources, minimize the time spent online, scrolling through social media while looking for further info. It is essential to minimize the number of news we read while yet staying informed. Listen to podcasts and news rather than scrolling down on your phone. Incorporate watching the news in your daily routine and opt for reliable sources, most mainstream media channels in the United State spin all the news and outright misinform. Learn through volunteering & spending time with other people. News isn’t the only place where you can stay informed. Have discussions with your friends, share info, fact check information of each other, and have a healthy dialogue. Most people know what they’re exposed to in mainstream media, and unfortunately, the level of bias and misinformation is at an all-time high. The most essential thing is to be mindful and connected to the problems that matter to you. If you discover yourself doom scrolling, urge yourself to look for some positive news as well to find peace and joy in this crazy globe. Doom scrolling must not be a way to escape reality for us. We should be completely engaged in our daily lives and the lives of others. Staying connected matters. Staying connected with others matters but most essentially staying connected with yourself matters. Mindless doom scrolling isn’t the way to stay connected with yourself.
Strategies to stop doom scrolling habit
Disconnect yourself from the phone or other devices and replace doom scrolling with other activity
This can mean physically detaching yourself from your phone and computer. Which can advantage you in a number of ways beyond saving yourself from the impacts of doom scrolling? The blue light from our phones really turns off the melatonin in our brains which makes it extra difficult to sleep. Instead of scrolling, you can read a book, listen to calming podcasts or music, find other distractions that do not self-perpetuate the same way checking online feeds does.
Set boundaries for consuming news
Avoid news after your dinner, as it can raise stress and interferes with sleep. You can strive to stay away from provoking, visual sources that can trigger traumatic responses from you, and, above all, listen to what your body is telling you. When you slow down to listen, then your mind and body will tell you when you have absorbed sufficient or the wrong type of news. If you are feeling agitated, anxious, and stressed, you know your body is signaling you to stop what you are doing.”
Mitigate stressful triggers when necessary
And different news items can be specifically triggering to different people. For instance, a person who recently lost a loved one to COVID-19 can be further affected than others by data showing a rise in COVID-related deaths. If a trigger feels stressful or challenging, try not to criticize or judge yourself, realize that you need somewhat TLC around these problems. When you are doing doom scrolling on social media, you notice that some specific content is harmful to you and your mental health, Baker suggests muting, unfollowing, and blocking accounts as needed. Furthermore, to silencing negative accounts, it is essential to curate happiness. You can follow those accounts that you find positive & uplifting.
Stay connected in other ways
A simple lifestyle change that can help you kick a doom scrolling habit is to contact a friend and have a cleansing conversation. Give somebody a call, and if you are not screen-timed out, FaceTime or Zoom with friends or family. Being face to face with somebody, even if it is through screens, maybe the best for lowering stress and limiting mindless scrolling. You can, obviously, check-in and connect with yourself. Utilize your free time to spend on extra productive activities like reading, starting a creative project, spending time with the family you’re quarantined with, exercising, and enjoying your natural surroundings and sunlight.
Be aware of your time and how you’re using it. Rather than mindless scrolling takes an online course or do something productive.
Be more mindful of your activities. Be aware of the action you’re doing rather than losing yourself in endless articles of bad news.
Stay connected either virtually and in person. On a personal level check in with family and friends for seeing how they’re. On a professional level try for expanding your network on sites such as LinkedIn.